Module SXU-4016:
Dissertation

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

60 Credits or 30 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Howard Davis

Overall aims and purpose

This module provides students with an opportunity to conduct a small-scale yet significant piece of individual research supervised by a research supervisor. Students identify a research question, collect and analyse data that bears on the research question, utilising an appropriate analytical framework. They then address the research question in the light of their findings. The research undertaken is presented in the format of a 20,000 (max) word dissertation.

Course content

One-on-one supervision tutorials, as determined by the progress of the individual student, to include guidance on identifying and planning an appropriate research topic, investigation and applying relevant theoretical concepts, planning and conducting fieldwork and data collection (where relevant) and presenting the results coherently and in the appropriate format. There are preparatory workshops and students present their proposals to fellow students and staff on a presentation day.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Student will have defined a research problem and demonstrated awareness of the theoretical context as well as knowledge of appropriate literature. Will have explained the choices made in designing and executing their study. Will have carried out analysis appropriate to the data and drawn conclusions. The presentation, including citation and referencing, will be clear and free from significant errors.

good

Student will have clearly defined a research problem and demonstrated good awareness of the theoretical context as well as systematic acquaintance with the appropriate literature. Will have explained and justified the choices made in designing and executing their study. Will have carried out thorough analysis appropriate to the data and drawn consistent conclusions. The presentation, including citation and referencing, will be clear and consistent.

excellent

Student will have precisely defined a research problem and demonstrated comprehensive critical awareness of the theoretical context as well as thoroughgoing acquaintance with the appropriate literature. Will have explained and justified the choices made in designing and executing their study. Will have shown full command of skills appropriate to analysis of the data and drawn insightful conclusions. The presentation, including citation and referencing, will be clear and fully accurate.

Learning outcomes

  1. Identify clear aims appropriate to a Masters dissertation it the field.

  2. Identify the limitations of the study.

  3. Develop and demonstrate a high level of autonomy and responsibility in planning and executing the research.

  4. Develop their ability to identify a research question, to carry out an investigation of the problem and to present findings in a clear and thoughtful way.

  5. Identify and apply appropriate methods and critical awareness of methods used, including those used for the interpretation of data.

  6. Exercise appropriate ethical and methodological awareness both in planning and execution of the study.

  7. Present the research undertaken in the form of written dissertation subject to rigorous standards and confirming to the conventions.

  8. Develop a great depth of knowledge in the appropriate area/topic under investigation, demonstrated through a confident and properly critical use of expositing literature and the presence of a reasoned theoretical defence of the research.

  9. Develop an increased independence of view, and demonstrate the ability to analyse critically, make judgements, and draw conclusions.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
MA dissertation 100

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Workshop

2 hour workshop on how to develop a viable research topic proposal.

2
Tutorial

Contact time: This will take the form of one-to-one supervision tutorials as determined by the progress of the individual student.

Students will be allocated a research supervisor. The supervisor will provide tutorial support on an individual basis to help students become properly self-critical and to support their growing autonomy as researchers. Tutors will be allocated on a basis of relevant expertise from among the staff members at the School and Centres that contribute to the programme.

7
Individual Project

Students work individually on their dissertation.

583
Practical classes and workshops

Students present their research topic and concept to fellow students and staff and will answer questions as well as hear advice.

8

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Critically evaluate the mixed economy of welfare and the interrelationships between health and social care and between the agencies, practitioners and individuals involved in their provision;
  • Explain the origins and nature of the social organisation of healthcare and associated services in advanced industrialised and majority world societies globally;
  • Evaluate the impact of difference and diversity on the incidence and experience of illness;
  • Compare and contrast cultural variations in medicine;
  • Analyse health and health issues, alongside health information and data that may be drawn from a wide range of disciplines;
  • Draw upon, and consider, lived experiences of health, well-being and illness from diverse sources and perspectives.
  • Capacity to identify and describe the causes and consequences of social order and change in specific contexts.
  • Ability to formulate and investigate sociologically informed questions.
  • Appreciate a range of research designs and strategies and how they may be applied to sociological investigations.
  • Competence to carry out a piece of sociological research using either primary or secondary data, or both.
  • Be able to recognize how social data and sociological knowledge apply to questions of public policy.
  • Use the theories and concepts of social policy and other social sciences to analyse policy problems and issues
  • Undertake either on their own, or in collaboration with others, investigations of social questions, issues and problems, using statistical and other data derived from research publications.
  • Analyse and discuss social policy and related issues distinguishing between normative and empirical questions
  • The ability to identify criminological problems, formulate questions and investigate them
  • Competence in using criminological theory and concepts to understand crime, victimisation, responses to crime and deviance; and representations of crime, victimisation, and responses to these, as presented in the traditional and new media and official reports
  • The capacity to analyse, assess and communicate empirical information about crime, victimisation, responses to crime and deviance, and representations of crime
  • The ability to recognise a range of ethical problems associated with research and to take action in accordance with the guidelines of ethical practice developed by the British Society of Criminology and cognate professional bodies
  • The ability to identify and deploy a range of research strategies including qualitative and quantitative methods and the use of published data sources and to select and apply appropriate strategies for specific research problems; and the ability to present the philosophical and methodological background to the research of others and to one's own research.
  • awareness of how political and cultural values - including the student's own - have an impact on responses to and rival interpretations of safety and security, crime
  • the ability to identify a range of qualitative and quantitative research strategies and methods
  • the ability to conduct sociological / criminolgical research
  • the ability to undertake and present scholarly work
  • Understand the relationship between theory, research design, and the selection of research methods and be able to identify and critically evaluate the positions upon which they are predicated.
  • Appreciate and apply a broad range of research methods and tools (underpinned by a strong conceptual awareness of the research processes).
  • Appreciate philosophical, ethical and methodological issues in criminological and legal research.
  • Appreciate the inter-relationships between criminological and legal theories, criminological and legal research, and policies of key institutions.
  • how crime, deviance and victimisation are socially and legally constructed the different sources of information about crime and victimisation, both quantitative and qualitative, and how they are produced - including their location in particular legal, political, social and ideological frameworks - and how they can be interpreted
  • trends in crime, harm and victimisation
  • different forms of crime and their social organisation
  • different theoretical and empirical approaches to the study, analysis and explanation of crime, deviance, harm and victimisation
  • theoretical and empirical relationships between power, crime and social change, and the impact of globalisation
  • the development of criminology as a distinct area of study and inquiry, and its multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary nature
  • alternative theoretical approaches within criminology, and contemporary debates about the content and scope of criminology
  • relationships of crime, deviance and offending, and victimisation to social divisions such as: age, gender, sexuality, social class, race, ethnicity and religious faith
  • the development, role, organisation and governance of efforts to reduce and prevent crime, deviance and harm, and to ensure personal and public safety and security in different locations; the role of the state and non-governmental agencies
  • the effectiveness of such measures, and human rights issues in relation to preventive and pre-emptive measures
  • the social and historical development of the main institutions involved in crime control in different locations
  • the philosophy and politics of criminalisation, victimisation, criminal justice and modes of punishment
  • the use of discretion in relation to justice processes, including issues of discrimination and diversity
  • governance of criminal and youth justice, and other crime control processes
  • the development of penal and alternative policies in different locations and their relationship to social change
  • the main forms of sentence and alternatives; the governance, roles and structure of the agencies involved; and offenders' experiences of adjudication and sentence
  • representations of victimisation, crime and deviance, and of the main agents and institutions which respond to crime and deviance, as found in the mass media, new media, in official reports and in public opinion
  • how to develop a reflective approach and a critical awareness of the values of local cultures and local politics, and of the student's own values, biography and social identity, and how to bring these skills to bear in an informed response to crime and victimisation
  • awareness of how political and cultural values - including the student's own - have an impact on responses to and rival interpretations of safety and security, crime
  • control, policing, criminal and youth justice, sentencing, and alternative responses to offending
  • how to make ethically sound judgements in relation to research carried out by others or oneself
  • how to use empirical evidence - both quantitative and qualitative - about the distribution of crime, deviance, offending and victimisation of all kinds to explore relationships between these and social divisions and social change.
  • awareness of principles and values of law and justice, and of ethics
  • knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts, values in law within an institutional, social, national and global context
  • the ability to formulate and investigate sociologically informed questions
  • competence in using major theoretical perspectives and concepts in sociology, and their application to social life
  • the capacity to analyse, assess and communicate empirical sociological information
  • the ability to identify a range of qualitative and quantitative research strategies and methods
  • the ability to conduct sociological research
  • the ability to undertake and present scholarly work
  • the ability to understand the ethical implications of sociological enquiry
  • the ability to recognise the relevance of sociological knowledge to social, public and civic policy.
  • Develop a sound appreciation of the variety of theories that comprise the discipline of social policy and how these impact on social policy interventions
  • Become cognizant with key conceptual debates within the field of contemporary social policy
  • study in depth and context of some substantive areas of law.
  • Appreciate the value of and apply theoretical and methodological rigour to analyses of welfare issues;
  • Be aware of the ethical, social and political contexts within which social policy practice and research is conducted and delivered
  • seek out, use and evaluate qualitative and quantitative data derived from social surveys and other research publications
  • Develop a knowledge and expertise with respect to a range of evidence-based policy making and practice.
  • Develop a sophisticated understanding of the processes of social policy analysis and evaluation.
  • use some of the established theories and concepts of social policy and other social sciences to analyse how social needs, social problems and policies themselves are constructed and understood in both national and international contexts
  • undertake either on their own, or in collaboration with others, investigations on social questions, issues and problems. This will involve skills in problem identification; the collection, storage management and manipulation of data, including secondary data, and other information; the use of archival sources; the construction of coherent and reasoned arguments; and the presentation of clear conclusions and recommendations distinguish among and critically evaluate different theoretical, technical, normative, moral and political approaches to social problems and issues.
  • distinguish among and critically evaluate different theoretical, technical, normative, moral and political approaches to social problems and issues
  • Understand the relationship between theory, research design, and the selection of research methods and be able to identify and critically evaluate the epistemological positions upon which they are predicated.
  • Understand the basic principles of research design and strategy (including how to formulate researchable questions and the considerations affecting inference and proof, reliability and validity in different styles of research), sufficient to enable them to make appropriate choices in their own research.
  • Appreciate and apply a broad range of research methods and tools (underpinned by a strong conceptual awareness of the research processes and their underlying philosophies).
  • Appreciate philosophical, ethical and methodological issues in criminological and sociological research.
  • alternative theoretical approaches within criminology, and contemporary debates about the content and scope of criminology
  • Appreciate the inter-relationships between sociological and socio-legal theories, criminological and sociological research, and policies of key institutions.
  • Understand the value of and apply comparative analysis within criminology and sociology.
  • the development of criminology as a distinct area of study and inquiry, and its multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary nature
  • how crime, deviance and victimisation are socially and legally constructed the different sources of information about crime and victimisation, both quantitative and qualitative, and how they are produced - including their location in particular legal, political, social and ideological frameworks - and how they can be interpreted
  • trends in crime, harm and victimisation
  • different forms of crime and their social organisation
  • different theoretical and empirical approaches to the study, analysis and explanation of crime, deviance, harm and victimisation
  • theoretical and empirical relationships between power, crime and social change, and the impact of globalisation
  • the philosophy and politics of criminalisation, victimisation, criminal justice and modes of punishment
  • the development, role, organisation and governance of efforts to reduce and prevent crime, deviance and harm, and to ensure personal and public safety and security in different locations; the role of the state and non-governmental agencies
  • the effectiveness of such measures, and human rights issues in relation to preventive and pre-emptive measures
  • the social and historical development of the main institutions involved in crime control in different locations
  • the use of discretion in relation to justice processes, including issues of discrimination and diversity
  • governance of criminal and youth justice, and other crime control processes
  • the development of penal and alternative policies in different locations and their relationship to social change
  • the main forms of sentence and alternatives; the governance, roles and structure of the agencies involved; and offenders' experiences of adjudication and sentence
  • representations of victimisation, crime and deviance, and of the main agents and institutions which respond to crime and deviance, as found in the mass media, new media, in official reports and in public opinion
  • how to develop a reflective approach and a critical awareness of the values of local cultures and local politics, and of the student's own values, biography and social identity, and how to bring these skills to bear in an informed response to crime and victimisation
  • relationships of crime, deviance and offending, and victimisation to social divisions such as: age, gender, sexuality, social class, race, ethnicity and religious faith
  • Understand the basic principles of research design and strategy (including how to formulate researchable questions and the considerations affecting inference and proof, reliability and validity in different styles of research), sufficient to enable them to make appropriate choices in their own research.
  • Appreciate and apply a broad range of research methods and tools (underpinned by a strong conceptual awareness of the research processes and their underlying philosophies).
  • Appreciate philosophical, ethical and methodological issues in criminological and criminal justice research.
  • Appreciate the inter-relationships between sociological and socio-legal theories, criminological and criminal justice research, and criminal justice policies.
  • Understand the value of and apply comparative analysis within criminology and criminal justice.
  • Understand the relationship between theory, research design, and the selection of research methods and be able to identify and critically evaluate the epistemological positions upon which they are predicated.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: